Letters from Burma
By Aung San Suu Kyi
Genre: Nonfiction; essays; correspondence
Publisher: Penguin (1997; 2010)
Following her release from house arrest, the winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize wrote these 52 short essays in the form of letters from late 1995 through 1996, at the height of a heroic period in her long resistance to Myanmar’s oppressive rule by military junta. Reissued the year of another release from extended detention, at a time of growing, albeit fleeting, optimism and belief in the spirit of reconciliation, the collection reflects her determination to reveal the cruel impact of that rule on the traditions and daily lives of the Burmese people and to propose pathways to a better future.
A Savage Dreamland: Journeys in Burma
By David Eimer
Genre: Nonfiction; travel writing; history
Publisher: Bloomsbury (2019)
ISBN-10: 1408883813, 1408883880, 1408883872
ISBN-13: 978-1408883815, 978-1408883860, 978-1408883877, 978-108883884
Journalist Eimer, formerly the China correspondent and the Southeast Asia correspondent for major British newspapers, travels the length and breadth of Myanmar, seeking to dispel lingering colonially tinged assumptions about Burma/Myanmar by focusing on the voices of the country’s people. Within a rich historical context, he creates a mosaic-like view of a still mysterious land by sharing the stories of local people from all walks of life: rural and urban, members of diverse religions and ethnicities, the wealthy and privileged as well as the desperately poor.
“Eimer is a meticulous, fair-minded and empathetic observer, he takes interest in people of all kinds and from all walks of life, and is adventurous and curious enough to go off the beaten track. [...} One probably cannot understand Myanmar without going there, but Eimer’s book may be one of the best alternatives.” (Peter Gordon, Asian Review of Books, July 9, 2019)
“Eimer's journey takes him to all these trouble spots, including many not reported in the West. It's a remarkable achievement because most are off limits to tourists and especially westerners ... The result of Eimer's intrepid endeavours is a revelatory and moving book, enriched by vivid descriptive colour and an incredible cast of characters” (James Holland, The Times) "A descriptive look at a struggling country that squeezed itself into democracy after half a century of military rule ... Eimer gives Burma a voice by letting her people tell their stories." (San Francisco Book Review)